pixel

Hilo Negro

Hilo Negro

Finding the Thread of Life

Driving through the wonders of the ancient boulder fields, the hot sun touches the heavy laden vines; the 2019 harvest is about to begin. Two very striking structures are seen from the road, this is Hilo Negro and restaurant ’emat. Architect and part owner, Ramón Salyado, created cutting edge buildings of glass, steel and concrete. The new wine tasting room is just off the road and there is easy parking. Today I will drive on up the hill to where the wine is produced and the cava is found, along with the restaurant. I am met by Gustavo and a group of happy staff from the restaurant. First we take in the giant stainless steel fermentation tanks, filled with processing wine, which is then fed by gravity through the floor into waiting barrels in the cava below. Gravity feed is a much gentler processing for the developing wine than the use of the electric pumps. Down a series of stairs, Gustavo opens the door into the cava where the temperature drops dramatically. The cava is built half underground and today the air conditioning is necessary to maintain the appropriate temperature. Their forms are filled with life that you can almost feel, as the wine within matures. The barrels curve around in a half circle and resemble slumbering brown bears.

From here we visit briefly the ’emat restaurant with an absolutely stunning view of the mountains, all the way to Sierra Blanca. Gustavo begins to share the story, “’emat is a Kumiai word that includes both earth and sea and is proud to offer a Farm to Table menu. The restaurant brings fresh produce right from the growers in the valley everyday as well as local fish and beef. They also use the local cheeses and even make a mango ice cream in season.” The waitress brings us a chilled beet drink that is very refreshing on this summer afternoon. He continues, “Hilo Negro, means Black Thread. Here in Mexico there is a very deep meaning to this which the owners wanted to convey. The thought is that there is thread of life that moves through everything and is of great importance. The men who began this project felt as if they had found the life thread in this land.”

Hilo Negro

“Water is the most important thing to any project, with plans to produce a fine wine. Here at the base of the mountains we are fortunate to have the rain water filter down through the mountains, creating the purest quality.” I mention how beautiful the natural granite boulders are and Gustavo agrees, “Yes, we love the boulders and you see how the owners respect their presence.” And it was one of the first things I noticed, how the landscaping and the buildings utilized their strength and beauty. “We even use the micro climates they create, as they reflect and retain the heat. We are a little closer to the ocean so we have misty mornings. We are in a perfect Mediterranean climate.”

We drive back down to the impressive tasting room. Gustavo points out, “You see the whole building is on stilts, so that the stones remain in place and become part of the presentation.” Upon entering I am struck with the architecture that seems to pull the gaze completely through the building and into the next one across the patio. It seemed the creator even used the reflection of glass and steel structure to create the powerful effect. I took a moment to enjoy Ramón Salyado’s vision. The bar is central with ample space inside as well as a covered patio to take in the lovely view. Gustavo introduces the first of the four wines that we will try. Staying with the theme of the thread, all the wines have names of sewing stitches. The first is a 2018 Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier blend that has not passed through the barrel. It is called, “Invisible” named for a fine stitch you can’t see. The Viognier grape gives this young white wine authority. It is fresh with pear and good acidity. I believe this will surprise anyone who does not think they care for white wine.

Hilo Negro

Next comes the 2017 Ricrac, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo and Syrah with one year in the barrel and 8 months in the bottle. This is a delicious blend and fills the mouth quickly with the full fruit forward. It gives a light tannin finish. “Our winemaker, Daniel Lonnberg, is a well-known oenologist from Chile, so he brings some of his earlier knowledge to Baja California wines. Chile is calling me, I hope to travel there one day to learn from them… my mother is not too happy about my idea.” Gustavo smiles lovingly. Third in the lineup is the 2016 ZigZag blend of Nebbiolo and Syrah. It has one year in French and American oak. This is a wine that you do not rush through. It is meant to drink slowly with friends and demands a pairing. Gustavo shares, “We like very much people who come to meet our wines.” There is quite a different culture in Mexico that thrives on beer and tequila. The culture of wine is more about what Gustavo calls “meeting” the essence of the grape with respect as if an elder person. ZigZag is rich and full bodied with blackberry and marmalade tones. I really wished I had a square of chocolate to accompany it.

The fourth and final tasting is the 2016 Escala, with a stitch that looks like tiny mesas running around the lip of the bottle. It is 100% Syrah with fourteen months in French oak and is their Premium label. This is a dark wine of infinite possibility. Escala will mature into a rich dark forest of truffles, peppery and a hint of spice and balanced acidity. While the wines are still young from this new winery, they are most definitely poised to be extremely popular. Already the word has spread and their weekends can be quite busy for they offer easy access and a restaurant that entertains well into the warm summer evenings.

Article by Martina
Photography by Cintia Soto


4.7 112 Reviews
  • user logo
    Charles Gee
    From logo

    Incredibly fast and painless. Paid about $180 for a month of coverage. It was easier than going on line.

  • user logo
    Chyla Nava
    From logo

    Great, easy to use service. I haven't had to file a claim (and hope I never have to) but the online portal is very easy to use, and it's...

  • user logo
    Kierian Kuklok
    From logo

    I have been a customer for years and when I really needed them they stepped up in every way. I had a freak accident to my car and they...

  • user logo
    Lourdes Montoya
    From logo

    Easy, fast, and affordable.

  • user logo
    Aj Cornejo
    From logo

    Reasonable prices and we thought best chance to actually get results if we needed them.

  • user logo
    Adrianna Dorsey
    From logo

    Great company, great prices, and even better customer service. We've lived in Baja for 7 years and have used them for the past 6years....

  • user logo
    Gary Counts
    From logo

    So convenient and easy to navigate thru the online process. I'll never use any other Mexican insurance service!

  • user logo
    Joey Digiovanni
    From logo

    Easy to work with 😉. Always courteous and helpful. Have used them for all trips to Mexico. Easy website to navigate

  • user logo
    Jolene Bibian
    From logo

    Shauna at Baja Bound was AWESOME!! We had specific questions about how to quote the policy based on our vehicle type and she was super...

  • user logo
    Rebecca Newell
    From logo

    Great service!

  • user logo
    Maria Elena Smith
    From logo

    Easy and affordable.

  • user logo
    Mehdi Fahid
    From logo

    I reapplied for my Baja Bound Mexican car Insurance yesterday and I spoke to Ms. Shauna. This lady processed my application quickly and...

  • user logo
    Benjamin Driebe
    From logo

    Absolutely fantastic, I already forgot her name because I have a terrible memory but the woman that helped me on the phone was wonderful,...

  • user logo
    richard carr
    From logo

    fast replies and great price!

  • user logo
    Juan Zuniga
    From logo

    I just would like to know if you guys are going to update the fastpass direction any soon, during the month of January the lane changed to...

  • user logo
    Richard Schweiger
    From logo

    Very professional, very helpful, great policy, I couldn't be happier with Baja Mexican Insurance, the friendly smiles and ease of it all in...

  • user logo
    Ryan Frisby
    From logo

    We use them every time we travel to Mexico. Luckily we have not needed their services yet but getting insurance through them is quick and...

  • user logo
    Jan Muhammad
    From logo

    I need a tourist visa for maxico I'm from pakistan help me sir

  • user logo
    Tracy Moore
    From logo

    Very easy, quick, and professional

  • user logo
    robert kepper
    From logo

    They are very good . There website doesn't show you need a title to bring a vehicle across the border.I was stopped and told I had to...

  • user logo
    Edilver Martinez
    From logo

    Our go to Baja car insurance, everytime we take a visit down south . Usually it's for a day trip either for a quick getaway with the family...

  • user logo
    Daniel “Dan M” Markofsky
    From logo

    Third time working with Baja Bound and they made it easy! Thanks!

  • user logo
    Steve Bender
    From logo

    Have never needed to use the insurance fortunately but the website always works great. Can buy a policy in about a minute.

  • user logo
    Jose Paez
    From logo

    Had a great experience getting insurance at Baja Bound, before I always stoped at the border to purchase my insurance, not anymore. By the...

  • user logo
    JUSTINE SERRANO
    From logo

    I purchased insurance through them & CHUBB for our trip to San Felipe. Unfortunately, we had to cancel due to our vehicle having an oil...

  • user logo
    Christian Minor
    From logo

    Team were on point, provided inside information, prices were great and they had my proposal already in the system when I called back....

  • user logo
    George
    From logo

    Excellent customer service

  • user logo
    Kellye Pummill
    From logo

    Fast and easy!

  • user logo
    Jennifer Toups
    From logo

    Baja Bound is and has been my go to Mexico insurance company. The website is extremely easy to use, keeps all your info for a quick...

  • user logo
    Cesar Lopez
    From logo

    Very convenient, great price !!

  • user logo
    Louis Schneidman
    From logo

    I had an awesome experience with Baja Bound. Family owned and highly personal, top notch customer service. I have total peace of mind...

  • user logo
    Phil Noble
    From logo

    If you’re looking for Mexican Insurance that you can trust and feel good about while traveling in Mexico, you’ve found the right place....

  • user logo
    Jeff Bunker
    From logo

    Great coverage options . Price buy and print policy , very quick and easy , highly recommend them when driving in Mexico

  • user logo
    Burrell DeVine
    From logo

    Easy to navigate and very competitively priced! I had to call in and add an additional day, they couldn't have been any more pleasant to...

  • user logo
    Nereyda Torres
    From logo

    Me gusta la asuguranza porque la puedes comprar por un dia y te asegura en Mexico por el tiempo que vas ya sea hasta por mes (Translated...

  • user logo
    james whitmer
    From logo

    Best insurance I've had so far

  • user logo
    Rail1riders
    From logo

    Quick, easy, well designed website and not just for Baja. Good rates for temporal residente gringos. We’re not living in Jalisco. Printed...

  • user logo
    Matt B
    From logo

    I always use Baja Bound to source my insurance while traveling to Mexico. Fortunately, I have not had to file any claims. I do appreciate...

  • user logo
    Refugio I. Rochin
    From logo

    Excellent online and by direct phone. Spanish and English with proven response to questions. Website is very informative about driving in...

  • user logo
    Kelly Carney
    From logo

    Yara is very helpful and explains everything. Love working with companies like this.

  • user logo
    Slumdog Gump
    From logo

    Changed some money. Good rate and friendly people.

  • user logo
    Jeff G
    From logo

    Went down to TJ June 11 2020 No problems going into TJ but the way back was a ordeal 6 hours in line to get back into the USA but no...

  • user logo
    don letson
    From logo

    Great renewal process, if only south Dakota would do the same for car registration.

  • user logo
    len buckholtz
    From logo

    SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD. OLD GUYS LIKE THAT. WILL DEFINITELY USE IN 6 MONTHS IF STILL RUNNING AROUND THE WILDS OF BAJA.

  • user logo
    Susana Judd
    From logo

    Easy, quick and fair prices. Easy to deal with if needed.

  • user logo
    Seismic Waterfinder
    From logo

    Very excellent service, needed insurance for Mexico, price was fair. The custumer service rep was Yara

  • user logo
    Nicolas Dervé
    From logo

    Very good ans very fast. We hope all will ben good if we need it.

  • user logo
    Blake Glassco
    From logo

    I will never drive south of the border without Baja Bound in my center console. I was in an accident a couple hours south of Ensenada and...

  • user logo
    JohnPaul Gemelli
    From logo

    Baja Bound could not have made it an easier ... also, I made a mistake and called them having to leave a message ... but, they called back...

  • user logo
    Jeff Brandt
    From logo

    so far so good, however I have read good things about them

  • user logo
    Sengoz N
    From logo

    SERIOUS.

  • user logo
    Kenneth Trass
    From logo

    Getting a policy was simple, Provided more than provider for price comparison.

  • user logo
    Esther Valencia
    From logo

    Super easy to purchase just the coverage you need when crossing the border in your own car. I especially appreciate the fact that I was...

  • user logo
    Larry Cottingham
    From logo

    Great service, very helpful people there.

  • user logo
    Luis Cortes
    From logo

    Easiest way to purchase insurance when traveling to Mexico. I have used their service for the last 7 years and it only gets easier and...

  • user logo
    j dougher ty
    From logo

    EZ Peasy insurance purchase. Great service every time I've used them. Had to cancel one time when my travel plans went away - no problem....

  • user logo
    Paul Niehouse
    From logo

    Extremely easy to acquire a policy. Many options available. Reasonable rates.

  • user logo
    Colin
    From logo

    Super-easy and instant. Very happy with initial purchase.

  • user logo
    Howard M Elster
    From logo

    2nd year with Chubb. No problems

  • user logo
    Cyndee Congrove
    From logo

    Great customer service, quick, friendly staff helpfully answered all questions, very patient with my learning curve on a new product. Would...

  • user logo
    Art Eugenio
    From logo

    I've had Baja Bound insurance for more that ten years now with thousands of miles logged in Baja. Fortunately, I've only had one fender...

  • user logo
    Gabe Matthews
    From logo

    Where do i start..... you dont know you have good insurance until you have to actually use it. I have had Baja Bound INS for over 5 years...

  • user logo
    keith berkley
    From logo

    Been going to baja for 45 years. This is best insurance company i have come accross.

  • user logo
    Ryan Perkio
    From logo

    I have been using BajaBound Insurance for 15 years - multiple trips per year. Their website is easy, their coverage is great, and the...

  • user logo
    RaMon McBride
    From logo

    I have not had any claims thus far so rating is based on ease of purchase.

  • user logo
    Larry French
    From logo

    By far the best service for Mex insurance in Baja. They are personally there for you if you have problems south of the border.

  • user logo
    Tudor Thomas
    From logo

    Baja Bound makes buying insurance for going south of the border as easy as it gets. The website is the easiest I have used and the staff...